Zoe Saldana

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This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Saldaña and the second or maternal family name is Nazario.
Zoe Saldana
Zoe Saldana - Guardians of the Galaxy premiere - July 2014 (cropped).jpg
Saldana at the Guardians of the Galaxy premiere in July 2014
Born Zoe Yadira Saldaña Nazario
(1978-06-19) June 19, 1978 (age 36)
Passaic, New Jersey, U.S.
Occupation Actress, dancer
Years active 1999–present
Spouse(s) Marco Perego (m. 2013)
Children 2

Zoe Yadira Saldaña Nazario (born June 19, 1978),[1] known as Zoë Saldana or Zoe Saldana (/sælˈdænə/ sal-DAN), is an American actress and dancer. She had her breakthrough roles in the films Center Stage (2000) and Crossroads (2002). She later gained prominence for her roles as Anamaria in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), Nyota Uhura in Star Trek (2009) and its sequel Star Trek Into Darkness (2013), Neytiri in James Cameron's Avatar (2009) and its upcoming sequels, and Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy (2014).

Early life[edit]

Saldana was born Zoe Yadira Saldaña Nazario[1] in Passaic, New Jersey.[2][3] Her father, Aridio Saldaña, was from the Dominican Republic, while her mother, Asalia Nazario, is from Puerto Rico. Saldana has said that she also has Haitian and Lebanese roots.[4] She has often spoken of her pride in her ethnicity and is quoted as saying, "It doesn't matter how much backlash I will get for it; I will honor and respect my black community because that's who I am."[5] The majority of her early childhood she spent growing up in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York, and her native languages are both English and Spanish. She has two sisters, named Cisely and Mariel, and a half-brother named Nipo, known as "Nipo 809", who is a Dominican artist and producer.[6]

Her father died in a car crash when she was nine years old,[7] and Saldaña and her mother subsequently moved to the Dominican Republic. There, Saldaña discovered her love of dance and soon enrolled in the ECOS Espacio de Danza Academy; she studied various forms of dance [2][6][8][9] but describes ballet as her first passion.[6][10] She told Vanity Fair that she quit ballet because she did not have the feet and had too much pride and ambition to just be in the corps de ballet.[10] The family returned to New York after her sophomore year in high school.[10] In 1995, she began performing with the FACES theater group in Brooklyn,[11] which put on plays geared toward providing positive messages for teens via themes dealing with issues such as substance abuse and adolescent sexuality. Concurrently, she performed with the New York Youth Theater; her appearance in their production of Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat led a talent agency to recruit her. Her previous dance training, and her acting experience, helped her land her first film role, playing Eva Rodriguez, the talented and headstrong ballet student in the film Center Stage (2000).[2][8]


Saldana was still a member of FACES when she gained exposure in an episode of Law & Order (titled "Merger") which first aired in 1999.[12] Saldana's first film role was in Center Stage (2000), directed by Nicholas Hytner, about a group of young dancers from various backgrounds who enroll at the fictitious American Ballet Academy in New York City. She left school after Center Stage, subsequently appearing in the Britney Spears vehicle Crossroads (2002) and the comedy-drama Drumline (2002). In Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), she played Anamaria, a female pirate who signs up to join Will Turner and Mr. Gibbs for a chance to confront Jack Sparrow for stealing her ship. Saldana appeared in three films in 2004, including The Terminal, Haven and Temptation. She appeared in Constellation, Guess Who with Ashton Kutcher and Dirty Deeds in 2005 and in Premium in 2006.

Saldana appeared in two high-profile roles in 2009. First she played Nyota Uhura in the film reboot Star Trek,[13] The films director J. J. Abrams asked Saldana to play the role because he had seen her previous work and liked it. Saldana had never seen the original series, though she had played a Trekkie in The Terminal (2004), but agreed to play the role after Abrams complimented her. She met with Nichelle Nichols, who explained to her how she had created Uhura's background and had named the character.[14] Saldana's mother was a Star Trek fan and sent her voice mails during filming, giving advice on the part.[15] Coincidentally, it was Steven Spielberg who taught her the Vulcan salute five years earlier when he directed her in The Terminal, in which her character was a Trekkie.[16]

Saldana's second high profile film on 2009 was James Cameron's Avatar, in which she starred as the alien huntress Neytiri, the film went onto to be a huge success and broke several box office records and became the highest-grossing film of all time, as well as in the United States and Canada,[17] surpassing Titanic, which had held those records for twelve years (and was also directed by Cameron).[18] It also became the first film to gross more than $2 billion.[19] Both films went on to raise her profile considerably.[8]

In 2010, Saldana starred in The Losers as Aisha al-Fadhil, a native Bolivian woman, for the role Saldana was required to gain a weight, as she was expected to carry weapons around for eight hours a day.[20] She also appeared in Takers, Death at a Funeral and Burning Palms. In August 2010, her television ad for Calvin Klein's "Envy" line debuted.[21] In 2011, Saldana starred in the romantic comedy The Heart Specialist and she also starred in the crime drama film Colombiana as Cataleya Restrepo, a professional assassin, the film was met with negative reviews from critics, however Saldana's performance was praised.[22]

In 2012, she starred in the romantic drama film The Words. Saldana reprised her role in Star Trek Into Darkness, the sequel to the 2009 reboot which was released in May 2013. Like the previous film, Star Trek Into Darkness was a box office success ending its North American theatrical run, with a box office total of $228,778,661, which places it as the 11th highest-grossing film for 2013.[23] It also earned $467,365,246 worldwide, ranking it in 14th place for 2013, and making it the highest-grossing film of the franchise.[24] Saldana played Gamora in the film Guardians of the Galaxy (2014),[25][26] and will reprise her role of Neytiri in Avatar 2 in 2017.[27] In May 2014, she starred in a television miniseries adaptation of Rosemary's Baby.

Personal life[edit]

Saldana at the 2014 Alma Awards, shown pregnant with twins

In June 2010, Saldana became engaged to her longtime boyfriend Keith Britton, an actor and CEO of My Fashion Database.[28] Saldana and Britton announced in November 2011 that they had ended their relationship after 11 years together.[29] Saldana subsequently dated actor Bradley Cooper from December 2011 to January 2013.[30][31]

In March 2013, Saldana began dating Italian artist Marco Perego. They secretly married in June 2013 in London.[32][33] Saldana and Perego have twin sons, Bowie Ezio and Cy Aridio, born in November 2014.[34] During her pregnancy, Saldana stated that her children will be bilingual as she and her husband plan to speak both Spanish and English around them.[35]

In 2009, Saldana said she would avoid plastic surgery, telling Women's Health magazine "God as my witness, I am going to try to do everything I can to keep this ass together for as long as I possibly can—without going against nature."[16] She watches what she eats but does not diet and does Pilates regularly saying "It's the closest thing to dance."[16]

Saldana is a celebrity supporter of FINCA International, a microfinance organization.[36]



Saldana at the 82nd Academy Awards, 2010
Year Title Role Notes
2000 Center Stage Eva Rodriguez
2001 Get Over It Maggie
2001 Snipes Cheryl
2002 Crossroads Kit
2002 Drumline Laila
2003 Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl Anamaria
2004 Terminal, TheThe Terminal Dolores Torres
2004 Haven Andrea
2004 Temptation Annie
2005 Constellation Rosa Boxer
2005 Guess Who Theresa Jones
2005 Dirty Deeds Rachel Buff
2005 The Curse of Father Cardona Flor
2006 Premium Charli
2006 Heart Specialist, TheThe Heart Specialist Donna
2007 After Sex Kat
2007 Blackout Claudine
2008 Vantage Point Angie Jones
2009 Star Trek Nyota Uhura
2009 Skeptic, TheThe Skeptic Cassie
2009 Avatar Neytiri
2010 Losers, TheThe Losers Aisha
2010 Takers Lily Jansen
2010 Death at a Funeral Elaine
2010 Burning Palms Sara Cotton
2011 Colombiana Cataleya Restrepo
2012 Words, TheThe Words Dora Jansen
2013 Blood Ties Vanessa
2013 Star Trek Into Darkness Nyota Uhura
2013 Out of the Furnace Lena Warren
2014 Unity Narrator Documentary
2014 Infinitely Polar Bear Maggie Stuart
2014 Guardians of the Galaxy Gamora
2014 The Book of Life Maria (voice)
2015 Nina Nina Simone In post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1999 Law & Order Belinca 2 episodes
2004 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Gabrielle Vega Episode: "Criminal"
2006–2007 Six Degrees Regina 5 episodes
2013 Comedy Bang! Bang! Herself Episode: "Zoe Saldana Wears A Tan Blouse & Glasses"
2014 Rosemary's Baby Rosemary Woodhouse 2 episodes; Also producer

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role
2013 Star Trek Nyota Uhura

Awards and nominations[edit]

Saldana with her Alma Award for Favorite Movie Actress Drama/Adventure in 2012
Year Award Category Work Result
2003 MTV Movie Awards Best Kiss (with Nick Cannon) Drumline Nominated
2005 Black Movie Awards Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role Guess Who Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Breakout Performance – Female Nominated
2006 Black Reel Awards Best Actress Nominated
Image Awards Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture Nominated
2009 ALMA Awards Actress in Film Star Trek Nominated
Boston Society of Film Critics Awards Best Ensemble Cast Won
Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Actress – Action/Adventure Nominated
Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Awards Best Ensemble Nominated
People's Choice Award Favorite Breakout Movie Actress Nominated
Scream Award Best Science Fiction Actress Nominated
Breakout Performance – Female Nominated
Best Ensemble Nominated
2010 Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films Best Actress Avatar Won
BET Awards Best Actress Nominated
Black Reel Awards Best Actress Nominated
Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards Best Acting Ensemble Star Trek Nominated
Empire Awards Best Actress Avatar Won
Image Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture Nominated
Kids' Choice Awards Cutest Couple (with Sam Worthington) Nominated
Favorite Movie Actress Nominated
MTV Movie Awards Best Female Performance Nominated
Best Kiss (with Sam Worthington) Nominated
Scream Award Best Science Fiction Actress Nominated
Saturn Award Best Actress Won
Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Actress – Sci-Fi Won
Choice Movie Actress – Action/Adventure The Losers Nominated
Choice Movie Actress – Comedy Death at a Funeral Nominated
Visual Effects Society Awards Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture[37][38] Avatar Won
2011 ALMA Awards Favorite Movie Actress – Drama/Adventure Takers Nominated
BET Awards Best Actress The Losers Nominated
Death at a Funeral Nominated
Image Awards Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture The Losers Nominated
SFX Awards Best Actress Avatar Nominated
2012 BET Awards Best Actress Colombiana Nominated
Black Reel Awards Best Actress[39] Nominated
Image Awards Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Actress – Action Won
ALMA Awards Favorite Movie Actress Drama/Adventure Won
2013 Teen Choice Awards Choice Summer Movie Star: Female Star Trek Into Darkness Nominated
2015 Black Reel Award Outstanding Actress, TV Movie or Mini-Series Rosemary's Baby Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actress Guardians of the Galaxy Nominated
Outstanding Voice Performance The Book of Life Nominated
Image Award Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance The Book of Life Nominated
People's Choice Award Favorite Action Movie Actress Nominated


  1. ^ a b "Zoe Saldana profile at FilmReference.com". Retrieved October 16, 2008. 
  2. ^ a b c "The Official Website of Zoe Saldana – Biography". Archived from the original on March 23, 2010. Retrieved October 10, 2010. 
  3. ^ Buchanan, Jason (2008). "Zoe Saldana – Overview". MSN. Retrieved July 29, 2008. 
  4. ^ Zoe Saldana (2014). Zoe Saldana Finds a True Match for her Skin Tone. USA: L'Oréal Paris. Retrieved 21 August 2014. 
  5. ^ Eggenberger, Nicole (May 14, 2013). "Zoe Saldana Poses Topless for Allure, Says She Might "End Up" Raising Kids With a Woman". Allure Magazine. Retrieved May 14, 2013. It doesn't matter how much backlash I will get for it," "I will honor and respect my black community because that's who I am." 
  6. ^ a b c "Zoe Saldana Biography Actress, Model (1978–)". The Biography Channel. Retrieved 16 August 2014. 
  7. ^ "Zoe Saldana misses saying 'daddy'". Hub 24x7. Retrieved 5 May 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c "Zoe Saldana Biography - Yahoo! Movies". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved 2011-10-09. 
  9. ^ Buchanan, Jason. "Zoe Saldana". AllMovie/Rovi via The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-10-09. 
  10. ^ a b c "Zoë Saldana Biography : People.com". People. Retrieved 16 August 2014. 
  11. ^ Zoe Saldana Heats Up the Sundance Film Festival With 'The Words'
  12. ^ "Merger". Law & Order. Season 10. Episode 4. 1999-10-13. NBC. 
  13. ^ "Zoë Saldana Cast in J.J. Abrams' "Star Trek" movie". March 2, 2008. Retrieved July 4, 2008. 
  14. ^ Wilson Morales (2008-01-29). "Zoe Saldaña sheds a little light on playing 'Uhura'". Blackfilm.com. Retrieved 2008-01-30. 
  15. ^ Larry Carroll (2009-04-21). "New 'Star Trek' Cast Took Cues From The Classic Series". MTV (Viacom). Retrieved 2009-04-23. 
  16. ^ a b c "Actress Zoe Saldana's Star Turn". Women's Health. April 13, 2009. 
  17. ^ Unadjusted for inflation. See also List of highest-grossing films in Canada and the United States#Adjusted for ticket-price inflation
  18. ^ "All Time Worldwide Box Office Grosses". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on January 28, 2010. Retrieved January 27, 2010. 
  19. ^ "'Avatar' Wins Box Office, Nears Domestic Record". ABC News. Archived from the original on February 3, 2010. Retrieved February 2, 2010. [dead link]
  20. ^ Weintraub, Steve (March 25, 2010). "Zoe Saldana On Set Interview THE LOSERS – Read or Listen Here". Collider. Retrieved May 13, 2012. 
  21. ^ "Zoe Saldana Calvin Klein TV Ad Revealed! Bares Secrets for Nothing to Hide". UrbLife.com. August 29, 2010. 
  22. ^ "Colombiana (2011)". Retrieved 6 September 2013. 
  23. ^ "2013 DOMESTIC GROSSES". Box Office Mojo. January 5, 2014. Retrieved January 6, 2014. 
  24. ^ "Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved August 25, 2014. 
  25. ^ Kit, Borys (April 3, 2013). "Zoe Saldana in Talks to Star in Marvel's 'Guardians of the Galaxy' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on April 3, 2013. Retrieved April 3, 2013. 
  26. ^ White, Brett (May 3, 2013). "'Guardians Of The Galaxy': Zoe Saldana Confirms She's Going Green". mtv.com. Retrieved May 30, 2013. 
  27. ^ "Sam Worthington & Zoë Saldana To Return For ‘Avatar’ Sequels; Fox Eyeing End Of Year Start". Deadline. Retrieved 10 May 2014. 
  28. ^ "Avatar's Zoe Saldana Is Engaged!". USMagazine.com. June 30, 2010. 
  29. ^ "Zoe Saldana, Fiance Split After 11 Years Together". Us Weekly. November 12, 2011. 
  30. ^ "Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana Dating Again!". USMagazine.com. September 25, 2012. 
  31. ^ "Buzz:Bradley Cooper & Zoe Saldana Split Again". People.com. January 3, 2013. 
  32. ^ Webber, Stephanie (September 10, 2013). "Zoe Saldana Marries Marco Perego in Secret Wedding Ceremony!". US Weekly. Retrieved September 10, 2013. 
  33. ^ "Zoë Saldana Marries Marco Perego". People Magazine. September 11, 2013. Retrieved September 13, 2013. 
  34. ^ Leon, Anya; Garcia, Jennifer (January 2, 2015). "Zoë Saldana Welcomes Twin Sons Cy Aridio and Bowie Ezio". People Magazine. Retrieved January 2, 2015. 
  35. ^ Johnson, Zach. "Zoe Saldana Says Her Twins Will Be Bilingual". 
  36. ^ Zoe Saldana Supports FINCA's Hand Up for Haiti Campaign "FINCA International website," March 20, 2011.
  37. ^ King, Susan (March 1, 2010). "Visual effects, sound and cinematography awards". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 8, 2010. 
  38. ^ "VES Awards-Nominees-2010" (PDF). Visual Effects Society. January 19, 2010. Retrieved March 10, 2010. 
  39. ^ "Pariah’s Nine Noms Lead the Black Reel Awards Field". The Black Reel Awards. 14 December 2011. Retrieved 2012-01-02. 

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